Description: Sam Heider was born in 1924 in the small village of Biejkow, one of six children of Yankel and Chaja Hajder. Unlike most Polish Jews, the Hajders had been farmers for generations and owned their own land. In 1941 the farm was confiscated by the German occupation forces, and the family moved to the ghetto in nearby Bialobrzegi. In 1942 the ghetto was liquidated and Sam’s parents went to their deaths at Treblinka. Sam escaped because he had already been sent to a work camp at Radom. All he had left of his family was a photograph of his sister, which - remarkably - he was able to keep with him by hiding it under his arm, even in the showers. He still has the photograph.
Description: Rachael grew up in a small town in Poland. When the Germans invaded that country in September 1939 they rounded up most of the Polish Jews and sent them to concentration camps. Rachael avoided capture with her mother and hid out in a nearby forest. Eventually, her mother was killed by German soldiers. Rachael joined a band of partisans who were fighting the German occupation and was finally reunited with her only surviving relative, a brother.
Description: Murray is a native of Lodz in Poland, which before the war was one of the largest Jewish communities in Europe. When the Germans invaded Poland they confined the Jews to their ghettos in many cities and then began shipping them off to concentration camps. Murray was picked up off the street at the age of nine and never saw his family again. Because he was young and able to work (and lied about his age), he was able to escape the gas chambers but underwent extreme hardship as a slave laborer. During the war he was an inmate of seven camps and was liberated in 1945 from Buchenwald.